Update: Regular readers of this blog will recall my articles (on 6,12 and 13 Jan 2011) about Sarah Lee Mitcham, a US defence contractor, who skipped out of Afghanistan while absent-mindedly 'forgetting' to pay her Afghan contractors the millions of dollars she had received from the US government to pay them.
I notice that one of those contractors, namely Jalal-Uddin Saeed, of Associates in Development, has now issued proceedings against Mitcham (or Lee, as she is sometimes known) in the US District Court for Northern Texas, Dallas Division for fraud and breach of contract, demanding $2 million he says he is owed.
The 26-page complaint says Mitcham and her co-accused "committed the worst kind of war profiteering seen in Afghanistan". They also undoubtedly had an impact on US Army counter-insurgency programmes, souring relations between the military and Afghan communities and probably leading to further deaths and injuries to American soldiers.
"Once the defendants received the benefit of the work from these companies they submitted invoices for payment to the US government (or the prime contractor). After receiving payment, they wrongfully kept the money amounting to at least $5 million and refused to pay the Afghan companies. In early 2010, defendants fled Afghanistan with millions rightfully belonging to the Afghan companies."
The complaint alleges that after leaving Afghanistan the Afghan contractors were told via email that Sarah Lee Mitcham had committed suicide.
In addition, Mr Saeed says that he risked his life to support NATO, against the wishes of many in his village. When he was unable to pay his workers, he and his family were forced to flee in order to save their lives. Mitcham, whose last given address is 104 Hoyt Clark Rd, Many, LA 71449-6022, is known to use at least 13 aliases. She has allegedly filed for bankruptcy protection. It is still not clear what action, besides barring her from applying for further contracts, the US Army intends to take against Lee and her associates.
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